Summer is finally approaching and after a very harsh winter and unpredictable spring weather many of us are joyously welcoming the season of sunny weather. We long for beach vacations, backyard barbecues, motorcycle rides, family road trips and outdoor sports.

While summer is a time for fun, it is also a time of danger for the Army community, with notable increases in off-duty fatalities, especially in automobile and motorcycle accidents. This summer the Army Contracting Command is promoting the Army's 101 Days of Summer Safety campaign, which begins over the Memorial Day weekend, reminding Soldiers, family members and civilians to think summer safety through the Labor Day weekend.

Our most important objective for summer is to protect our Soldiers, civilians and their families. The best safety tool we have is being aware of our surroundings and understanding the hazards associated with our activities. Using risk management principles, both on and off duty, and exercising sound judgment has proven to be an effective method of decreasing accidents and injuries.

During these 101 critical days of summer, leaders are especially encouraged to get involved with their subordinates, help point them in the right direction and ensure that they have the tools and information to make the right decisions to keep themselves as safe as possible.
A few things we can easily incorporate into our daily activities:

Safe Driving

• Do not drink and drive
• Always wear a seat belt and ensure that young children have the appropriate child safety seats for their age and size
• Plan your trip where you have plenty of rest before you leave and take the necessary rest breaks en route
• Drive at safe speeds; leave enough time to avoid the urge to speed
• Do not use your cell phone or text while driving

Safe Grilling

• Clean the grill thoroughly to remove any grease or dust; if using a gas grill check for gas leaks
• Always grill outdoors and keep your grill away from open windows, structures and flammables
• Keep children and pets away from the grill
• Only use a starter fluid made for charcoal; never use gasoline or spray any fluids, fuels or oils onto an already lit fire
• Do not leave a grill unattended
• Have a fire extinguisher nearby
• Do not grill in windy or inclement weather

Pool Safety

• Never leave children alone near a pool, not even for a moment, even if they know how to swim
• Keep rescue equipment such as a shepherd's hook or a life preserver near the pool
• Do not use "flotation aids" as a substitute for adult supervision
• Practice touch supervision with children younger than 5 years; this means that the adult is within an arm's length of the child at all times.
• Learn CPR

Sun Safety

• Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher; apply it generously throughout the day
• Wear a hat and sunglasses
• Drink lots of water to stay hydrated

A few minutes of planning can ensure we make lasting memories, a few minutes of inattention is all it takes to for an accident to happen. Make safe planning a part of your fun this summer and throughout the year.